The New York KnicksOG Anunoby has missed 12 consecutive games after undergoing a procedure to remove a loose body from his right elbow. But on Tuesday afternoon, an encouraging update regarding his return date made waves, which followed an exciting report on Saturday about Anunoby's rehab schedule.

Annunoby’s injury was never expected to cost him too much time, but timelines get murkier when surgery is involved. Initially, Anunoby was reportedly sitting out due to “elbow soreness.” On February 8th, almost immediately after the trade deadline, it was announced that Anunoby underwent surgery and would be re-evaluated in two-to-three weeks. Additional updates have been non-substantive.

But on Tuesday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania offered an optimistic update on the seventh-year forward's return.

“OG Anunoby. He had elbow surgery a couple, about three weeks ago. He’s been out the last month, as well,” Charania said on Fanduel TV’s Run it Back. “His return timetable is looking a lot more crystal clear. He’s going to begin shooting soon, I’m told.

“He’s going to be doing more and more on the court. I think that shooting is a big step for him,” he continued. “I’m told the hope—and pretty much the expectation—is over the next two weeks, by the time they get to two-to-three weeks from now, OG Anunoby will be back on the floor for the Knicks.”

Knicks’ coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed that Anunoby is still not shooting the basketball during Tuesday's pre-game press conference. But there's more than enough time for him to reacclimate before the playoffs given the timetable cited by Charania.

The Knicks are 12-2 with Anunoby in the lineup. He anchored the NBA's best defense through the month of January as New York surrendered only 100.1 points per game, and he was a +252 through his first 14 games with New York. So, everyone around the organization should be excited about an Anunoby return.

What about Julius Randle's return timeline?

New York Knicks guard Charlie Brown Jr. (44) talks with forward Julius Randle (30) during the half against the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle's return is slightly less certain. Charania was noncommittal when referencing the former Kentucky Wildcat's chances of coming back this season on Run it Back.

“He has not had any setbacks,” Charania said of Randle. “There is still some checkmarks he has to hit in order to play again. That’s an injury that likely he’s going to be dealing with some kind of ailment for the rest of the season, if he does return.”

Charania went on to indicate the goal remains for Randle to return this season. But goals don't always come to fruition. And while New York has absolutely no body of work to which it can look for insight regarding how they might play with Anunoby and without Randle, it is fair to assume to the former's output is more difficult to replicate.

Still, Randle's history of playing through injuries should leave Knicks fans optimistic that he will return during the regular season. Whether or not that's in the team's best interest is an entirely different story. And at this point in time, only Randle and a select group of people know that answer.

Could Mitchell Robinson come back this season?

New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) looks on during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Charania also addressed Knicks' center Mitchell Robinson, who has been out since December 8th after undergoing midseason ankle surgery.

“Mitchell Robinson has been sitting on the bench. He has not played for several months,” Charania explained. “He has to keep hitting checkmarks. We know he’s been dealing with foot injuries over the course of his career. So, for him, we’ll see where he stands on a return.”

Thibodeau did not address Robinson in Tuesday's pre-game press conference. So, it's fair to assume that progress is taking place, albeit slowly. Robinson could certainly still return before the end of the regular season, but it would be wise to limit expectations regarding his impact and fitness. After all, two-and-a-half months and counting is a long time to be away from the court.

As of today, the Knicks should be hyper-focused on getting healthy. That is apparently happening. And while they might not be entirely healthy any time soon, the idea that Anunoby—who looked a lot like the missing piece for New York—could return in as soon as two weeks is incredibly encouraging. Let's hope no set backs occur.